Being a Man of God

We ask our young children all the time, “What would you like to be when you grow up?” Then we often expect a reply in terms of career choices.  In Paul’s letter to his protégé, he didn’t instruct Timothy to become a power pastor of a megs-church; rather he reminded him of who he was; that he was a “man of God” (1 Timothy 6:11, 2 Timothy 3:17).

Interestingly, as far as I can tell, there’s only one person in the New Testament who’s called “a man of God,” and that’s Timothy. This term is frequently used in the Old Testament. In fact, it’s used about 70 times and always in reference to a spokesman for God—someone whose duty and responsibility is to speak the words of God.

Here in 1 Timothy 6:11-21, Paul points out four characteristics that mark a man of God:

  1. He flees: “Run” (1 Timothy 6:11). This is the Greek verb fuagay from which we get the word fugitive. In other words, the man of God is a man on the run. He’s constantly fleeing the love of money (1 Timothy 6:10), ungodly behavior (1 Timothy 6:20), lust, and sin (2 Timothy 2:22).
  2. He follows: The man of God pursues “righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:11). These are worthy goals.
  3. He fights: Not with his wife or others, but using the truth, the man of God is engaged in daily warfare against the kingdom of darkness. He’s not coasting toward the gates of heaven (1 Timothy 6:12).
  4. He is faithful: The man of God “holds tightly to the eternal life to which you were called” (1 Timothy 6:12). He views faithful Christian living and service as his necessary responsibility to God (1 Timothy 6:20-21).

If someone asks you, “What would you like to be?” would “I want to be a man of God” be your response? That type of man personally belongs to God, proclaims His Word accurately, and lives his life as an example to others.

[print_link] [email_link]

A Former Muslim’s Story

This is the season of Immanuel, God coming into the world to dwell with us, the incarnation. It is more than myth or legend, this God-Man Jesus changes lives, and people do not recant in the face of hostility and death. Take a look at this Voice of the Martyrs video at one family in Iran.

Matthew 5:10-12, Mark 10:29-31, Luke 21:12, John 15:20, Acts 7:51-53, 1 Corinthians 4:11-13, 2 Corinthians 4:8-10, 2 Thessalonians 1:4-5, 2 Timothy 3:12, 1 Peter 4:12

[print_link] [email_link]

Prayer During Tough Times

I had several people tell me last week (November 20) how meaningful my invocation prayer was for them, so I told them I would write it out for future reference:

Father, we love you, and we thank you very much for the love that you have demonstrated for us; that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). Words cannot express how thankful we are for that gift of sacrifice. As we think about all that goes on in our lives, the busyness, the things that seem to go wrong, the distractions, the things that are not going our way, Father, we wonder where you are. It appears that we are walking through this life alone.

Remind us that when we feel as if we are in a wilderness, we know that it is not a wasteland, because it is in the wilderness where we learn, where we grow, where we trust, where we have hope for the future. We know that you have been faithful before and we understand that you will be faithful again. We are so thankful that we have a consistent God (James 1:17, Hebrews 13:8).

As we think about Thanksgiving, remind each person, heart and mind of the things for which we are truly thankful. Hear as each person voices their prayer, deep within their spirit, about how thankful we are for what you have done, and for who you are. We share our lists in prayer, and at times it seems just like a list, but these are the things that you have spoken to us about, and we cast our cares upon you (1 Peter 5:7). Help us to be mindful of you, and thankful. Amen.

[print_link] [email_link]

Honor and Memorial

When I was young, my sixth grade class took a field trip from Cahaba Heights Elementary School to Washington DC. I remember the train ride from Alabama to DC, and seeing the sights and visiting a lot of historic places. I was probably too young to really appreciate all that I had seen and experienced.

Now I live not too far from our nation’s capital and have been several times to see various places, like the National Zoo, the Smithsonian, and the Washington Mall with all its monuments and beautiful buildings.

But even all the way back to that sixth grade trip, I’ve always been impressed by the solemn ceremony of the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. The Guards carefully choreograph the event which is a moving tribute to soldiers whose names and sacrifice are “known but to God.” Equally moving are the private moments of steady pacing when the crowds are gone: back and forth, hour after hour, day by day, in even the worst weather.

In September 2003, Hurricane Isabel had passed through our area, I was living in Richmond at the time. The storm was bearing down on Washington, DC, and I read that the guards were told they could seek shelter during the worst of the storm. The guards refused, to no one’s surprise. They unselfishly stood their post to honor their fallen comrades even in the face of a hurricane.

Is it possible to have such unending devotion in this life? How about in your spiritual life? As we read the middle chapter of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:1-6), I believe Jesus’ desire is for us to live with an unrelenting, selfless devotion to Him. The Bible calls us to good deeds and holy living, but these are to be acts of worship and obedience (Matthew 6:4-6), not planned out acts for self-glorification (Matthew 6:2). Action must be taken for no other reason than it is the right thing to do.

The apostle Paul endorses this whole-life faithfulness when he pleads with us to make our bodies “a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1). They say, the one real problem with a living sacrifice is that it keeps crawling off the altar. Wake each morning with this one goal in mind, to live this day for the one who die to set us free.

On this Memorial Day, remember those who have fallen in order to secure and defend our freedom; because freedom in never free.This day is more than the summer kick-off weekend, or a great time for a sale at the mall or the car dealership, it is about sacrifice.

Thank you Jesus for securing our salvation, and thank you to the fallen heroes (and their families) who sacrificed so much so that others might live. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13).

[print_link] [email_link]